If The Stanley Parable was made into a twisted fairytale, this would be the game you’d play. Created by Black Tabby Games, Slay The Princess takes an unconventional turn on your run-of-the-mill fairytale and transforms it into an unpredictable indie narrative. Take charge as the hero of the story as you embark on the mission to
save slay the princess. Make life-depending choices and face the consequences as you listen to the voice, or voices, inside your mind. Will you choose to slay the princess or save her?
Slay the Princess is currently available on Steam for $17.99.
Story – To Slay The Princess
The story begins as most fairytales do, you are the hero of the story tasked with a daunting mission and a princess is imprisoned in a basement. Except things are a little different in this story. You aren’t here to save her, you’re meant to slay her. You’ll find yourself placed in front of plot-altering decisions, each choice branching off into another. As your path continuously diverges, you watch as the story changes more and more into something unique. The narrative of Slay The Princess holds as a remarkable tale. Without spoilers, I’ll just say that the story may not end how you’d think. Stray the path and find yourself into the unknown or maybe follow your subconscious and watch as mysteries begin to unfold
The narrative direction this game manages to take is quite astonishing. While the game contains an inevitable sense of repetition, it still offers a sense of variety in terms of story-telling. There isn’t much to say negatively about the writing without coming from a personal bias. One of my favorite parts of this game is that unlike other choose-your-own-adventures, the game rewards players with a multitude of scenarios. Your story continues to shift even in spite of following a certain route. The variety of scenes and dialogue offer a great reward for the game’s replay ability.
Gameplay – Fate That Lies In Your Hands
Slay The Princess is a psychological horror visual novel with the style of a choose-your-own-adventure. The fate of the game lies in your hands as you control the outcome. Each choice you make will provide an equal consequence as you cautiously make your next step. However, while the choices you make affect the game, perhaps there is someone else pulling the strings along the way as well. As you begin, a voice begins to narrate your story, becoming a character that not only acts as your narrator but another interactive character. As mentioned before, the game is reminiscent of The Stanley Parable in the form of a visual novel. The choices you make are entirely up to you, but you can expect The Narrator to “guide” you throughout your gameplay too.
Power At Your Fingertips
The mechanics are fairly simple. The game offers you a list of dialogue on the side of your screen. You have the ability to click through the text and select the dialogue you wish to use. Scroll and read each option as they are labeled in brackets with their actions. You can use the explore dialogue to question characters and seek more information or choose an action to activate your next scene. Beneath the dialogue offers a selection of buttons to make your gameplay more convenient, such as skip, auto, and quick saves/loads.
My biggest concern for the game is that this style of gameplay often comes off as slow and redundant, but Slay the Princess counters these arguments to provide the best experience for their players. While choice-driven visual novels often comes with repetition, the game provides you with a skip button that only activates when a scene has already been viewed. The button becomes inactive whenever an unseen event occurs or a new piece of information arises.
Graphics & Audio – An Immersive Experience
Along with a strong narrative, the game’s art is able to provide its own sense of impeccable story-telling. Compiled of hand-drawn illustrations by Abby Howard, around 3,300 to be exact, the artwork in Slay The Princess sets the atmosphere better than it would any other style. With the texture of a pencil sketch, the minute details of shading and crosshatch are etched into every frame. But it’s not just the details, between the animation and the dynamic shots, each scene captures an immense emotion. Black Tabby Games does an amazing job at creating their environment. Most visual novels give off a flat visual but their illustrations makes it feel almost as if you could look around the game itself.
A Tale Worth Listening
Now before you set off to try the game out yourself, I highly recommend playing with a good set of headphones. Apart from the astounding visuals, the soundtrack for Slay The Princess completely immerses you into the game. The music, composed by Brandon Boone, does an amazing job at supporting the story. As your choices diverts the game’s path, you’ll find the themes slowly distorting and changing to fit your new story. Truly, making you feel as if you’ve wandering into an unknown land. But music isn’t the only riveting agent. Sound Designer, Phil Michalski, finds ways to reel the gamer back in with their choice of sound design. I’ll admit the sound effects used in the game had me on the edge of my seat as the Narrator slowly describes the scenes in front of me.
Not to mention, perhaps the most important factor, Slay The Princess is a fully-voice acted game. With Jonathan Sims as The Narrator and Nichole Goodnight as The Princess, the game features brilliant voice acting that brings the characters to life. Both Goodnight and Sims provide a next-level voice over for the many parallels of their characters. With constant turns of events, Sims and Goodnight are able to create an entirely new setting with the portrayal of their characters. Their efforts do an amazing job at keeping a fresh perspective each time the players enter the basement.
Slay The Princess was reviewed through Steam, provided by StridePR.